CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - One guy who is thrilled the Charlotte Hornets are back off their 2 week, 6 game road trip is starting center Cody Zeller.
“It was just me and Joe (Sharpe) our trainer just hanging out a couple of hours rehabbing each day so it’s good to have some life back in the arena,” said Cody Zeller.
Zeller is finally back on the practice court working on the side as he rehabs from surgery on his fractured right hand.
He still wears a cast on his right hand when he is on the court doing basketball drills which means, he has to work out as a lefty which could be a blessing in disguise.
“I’m learning some new skills,” said the 5th year center. “I’m still able to work on left hand finishes around the rim. I can do my ball handling stuff, drive left. I try to use it as a positive.”
Last season, Zeller missed time due to a knee injury which means he couldn’t work on staying in shape. But this time around, he should be able to hit the ground running when he is cleared to rejoin the team.
“He looked great yesterday," said Hornets head coach James Borrego. "He was in practice, the hand is progressing well, no setbacks. He is on track, that’s all I can say. I like the fact that he is getting some rest right now. There is a silver lining right now, those legs are getting rest, those knees are getting rest, and when he comes back we are going to have a great stretch run here with him. He’s getting extra work in the weight room conditioning wise. As long as that hand continues to heal, we are going to be okay.”
When it comes to injures, luck hasn’t been on the side of Cody. In the last 2 years, he has missed 77 games and the team’s record is 29-48. Not something most Hornets fans would think but a fact not lost on his teammates.
“My teammates are great about it and the coaching staff is great about giving me credit for setting solid screens or making a cut to get someone else an open shot so I always been a team guy.”
And it’s that team guy aspect that makes watching the Hornets go 2-4 on their recent road trip even tougher.
“I’m excited when Kemba (Walker) is having a big night scoring, Nic (Batum) has a big assist night, Marvin (Williams) gets a lot of open threes so to see that not happen as much while I’m out is tough for me to watch mentally," said Zeller.
Zeller’s recovery time was set at 4 to 6 weeks after the surgery on January 3rd which means he has a few more weeks before he is cleared to return. In 35 games this season, Zeller is averaging 9 points and 6 rebounds per game.